GRAND FORKS, N.D., July 18, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Aspiring pilots from across the U.S. and as far away as Japan, Taiwan, China and Saudi Arabia aren't letting the weather deter them from flocking to Grand Forks, N.D. to earn their wings. For students enrolled at the University of North Dakota's John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences (UND Aerospace), learning how to fly planes and helicopters in nearly every weather condition is a valuable experience.
UND Aerospace, ranked one of the nation's top collegiate aviation programs, offers the most technologically advanced flight training complex and largest aircraft fleet of any public university in the world. The aviation school began in 1968 with just two planes and 12 students. Today, it owns and operates a fleet of over 150 aircraft and flight training devices, and provides pilot training to nearly 1,500 students from 12 different countries amassing more than 120,000 flight hours per year.
Amid aviation industry forecasts of a global pilot shortage— prompted by declining pilot certification rates, a large number of retirements, more restrictive air carrier training requirements and lack of infrastructure in developing markets—UND Aerospace has emerged as a primary center for collegiate and contract aviation education and training. Its successful airline hiring programs, high job placement rate and lower tuition costs compared to private colleges make UND Aerospace a top choice.
"UND Aerospace does much more than train and educate qualified pilots," said UND Aerospace Dean Dr. Bruce Smith. "We deliver top caliber aviation and aerospace industry professionals for leadership positions in government, business and industry. Our graduates fly for major U.S. and international airlines and enter highly challenging careers working for corporate flight departments, aircraft manufacturers, NASA and the FAA, among many other organizations."
UND Aerospace was first in the nation to offer an undergraduate business degree that combines a liberal arts core curriculum with professional flight training. It also established the first undergraduate major in unmanned aircraft systems operations.
UND Aerospace's specialized flight training facilities include:
- 150-Aircraft Training Fleet- Consists mainly of modern, glass-cockpit Cessna 172s and Piper Seminoles, helicopters and unmanned aerial systems
- Altitude Chamber- Privately-owned hypobaric chamber used to expose air crew to the stresses of high altitude flight and the symptoms of hypoxia to avoid in-flight oxygen emergencies
- Unmanned Aircraft- Features the only privately operated Predator flight training device and flight experience in a variety of other aircraft, including the DraganFlyer, Raven B and Scan Eagle
- Level 6 Canadair Regional Jet (CRJ-200) Simulator- Offers an integrated training environment for pilots transitioning into a regional jet
- Flight Simulator Lab- Features 14 multi-crew simulators with high resolution color visuals and two helicopter flight training devices with 240-degree visual display and ground illumination
- 32-Position Air Traffic Control (ATC) Radar Simulation Lab- Provides a realistic state-of-the-art training environment for both FAA and ICAO air traffic controllers
- Two Air Traffic Control Tower Simulators- Deliver 360-degree wrap-around simulation that integrates air traffic controllers into real-world scenarios and can display any airport environment
- Regional Weather Information Center- Provides 24-hour monitoring of worldwide surface and upper atmospheric data, and real-time weather forecasting
UND Aerospace offers majors in aviation/airport management, commercial aviation, air traffic control, flight education, aviation technology management and unmanned aircraft systems. Students can earn private pilot, commercial pilot and certified flight instructor certificates, and are often employed as flight instructors on-site.
About UND Aerospace
UND Aerospace, at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, is an international leader in aviation education and flight training. It offers the most technologically advanced flight training complex and largest aircraft fleet of any public university in the world. Undergraduate and graduate degrees are offered through five academic departments: aviation, atmospheric sciences, computer science, earth system science and policy, and space studies. It also has facilities in Phoenix, Ariz. and Crookston, Minn.
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SOURCE UND Aerospace